Last week I was flown first class and wined and dined all week long in the hopes of getting a good review score for COD: Ghosts… actually that’s a total lie but some people are going to believe it so what can you do?
In reality I, along with a large group of eastern European journalists, congregated at a hotel near Heathrow airport for 3 days to give the game a thorough going over. There were consoles in my room for me to experience the single player at my leisure and then 4 large rooms downstairs to try out every version of multiplayer on every platform possible.
I honestly think this is the best way for multiplayer games to be reviewed as it gives us the opportunity to try out everything except international lag in time for the game’s release.
So how’d it go?
I’m a huge fan of the single player portions of the Call of Duty series. I always feel like I’m living a Michael Bay movie while playing; so I was in a great rush to get my hands on this new campaign especially since I’d been teased with the information that we’d now be fighting as the underdog against a big bad Federation.
The game opens up with that scene we’ve been shown before of the spaceship docking at a space station and then suddenly the Federation rushes the station and uses America’s most important weapon against them, thus turning the tide of war and turning America into the underdogs.
Oh wait I’ve got something better, here is the entire first mission as played by me on a PlayStation 4
So far so good but unfortunately as the game starts playing out it becomes pretty obvious that America isn’t really anything resembling an underdog here. At worst they are equals with the war against the Federation appearing to be a stalemate but in reality the Americans still seem to know more than the Federation and they are the ones on the attack during the entire game.
It was from this point on I struggled to really get into the story. That’s not to say that it wasn’t a great, bombastic roller-coaster ride as you’d expect from Call of Duty. We travelled the world trading huge battles with huge battles. I got to ride a tank and blow up everything in my wake, I also got to rip people apart using an Osprey – along with every other kind of machine gun and weapon you could conceive.
The gameplay is smooth, the action is intense and the graphics are good enough to enjoy the experience.
We’re not breaking new ground here and there are a fair few technical faults in the game. In the underwater section you can’t swim up to the surface without hitting a glass ceiling; there are invisible walls aplenty and quite a few places that you can get stuck in. But nothing compares to absolutely how terribly the foliage in the jungle scene reacts.
Now this is not looking for bugs for the sake of it; you get stranded in this thick jungle and simply can’t walk to where you need to be without noticing this visible clipping.
It really is unacceptable in this generation, nevermind the next one. The video above was taken directly from a PlayStation 4 console and as you can see the foliage moves naturally until you touch it.. at which point you just phase through it like a ghost.
I completed the campaign in around 6 hours which is standard for a Call of Duty single player campaign and if you pushed the difficulty up to veteran you would seriously struggle to get the campaign completed in under 15 hours.
Single player is but a small part of the Call of Duty experience, however. Next up we have Extinction
Extinction is Infinity Ward’s response to the massively successful Zombies and they may be onto a winner here.
The premise is simple; aliens have invaded the world and you need to fight them back and take out their hives until you can call in a nuke. Every wave brings with it a new group of aliens who are stronger, smarter and more determined to take you down than ever before.
I seriously doubt you would be able to handle each stage by yourself and the secret to victory is team work and a whole lot of skill.
As in multiplayer you get to rank up, which unlocks new opportunities and abilities which you will need to specialise in. You have your typical medic, support, assault and engineer and choosing the right team is a vital factor in your continued existence.
I only got to see one stage for Extinction but you can be sure more levels will be available either at launch or as future DLC.
But single player and extinction are both just side dishes, with the obvious main course being the multiplayer – and this is where Infinity Ward has come to the fore once again.
Before we get to that though, let’s have a quick chat about squads.
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Call of Duty: Ghosts was reviewed by Gavin Mannion on a PlayStation 4